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Opinions on the Tannoy GRF-R?

Discussion in 'classic' started by VintageTannoy, Feb 25, 2023.

  1. VintageTannoy

    VintageTannoy Member

    Hi All,

    What's your opinion of the GRF-R? There is a pair of mint condition GRFs for sale close to where I live:

    I have not heard the 15 Golds before however I have experienced the HDP 15 in the Arden cabinets and those had a fabulous sound stage and impressive lows.

    What's your opinion of the Gold 15 and these particular GRF cabinets? Do you think this is a good deal for what seem to be a pair of speakers in a really good condition?
  2. Sonnyboy958

    Sonnyboy958 Active Member

    15” MG’s are fantastic drivers.

    I have them in Lancaster cabs and I’m very happy them. Currently I have Class A amp driving them which drives them very well but have a pair of vintage valve monoblocs being restored which is always been a bit of a dream.

    HPD Drivers are very nice but somewhat of a different beast to Monitor Golds and prefer solid state amps.

    I would say 15” Tannoy’s are great with Jazz/Vocals/Orchestral but don’t to fast transients particularly well.

    They look a little on the pricey side but that’s probably being a little rarer on the other side of the pond.

    Maybe see if you can audition them before you purchase.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Original GRF cabs of any shape are crazy rare. A very different sound to the more common Yorks or Lancasters, really punchy, a visceral upper bass thwack. Nice cabs if they work in your room. I can’t comment on value as it is just so long since I’ve seen another pair for sale. An incredibly rare pare of speakers as really the GRF cab was a Red-era cab. I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen a factory Gold pair before!

    I suspect if you moved to larger cabs you’d change that view. I love my Tannoys on really complex electronica etc. The bass is really fast without being the hopelessly unnatural bleached dry and lean stuff that comes out of some hi-fi. They are amazing on techno 12” singles etc. Mine are in Lockwood Universal cabs, which are larger than Yorks and aperiodic-vented rather than ported, so kind of their own thing. I have a bit of bass-lift from the back wall which can make them a bit much on really bottom-heavy rap stuff, but leaning forward a foot or so fixes that. Big drivers are just way better on bass to my ears, they barely need to move where a smaller driver is violently bobbing in and out adding all manner of distortion.
  4. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Both HPDs and Monitor Golds are excellent. I've owned both.

    I don't subscribe to the myth that HPDs need solid state amplification, they partner with appropriate valve amps superbly. I run my HPD385 Mk1 Ardens on either a Leak Stereo 20 or Radford STA25 and I've tried a number of high end solid state amps with them and I still have a Quad 909 for comparison.

    I feel that Monitor Golds put a bit more emphasis on the upper midrange/are a shade more forward and that the HPDs are a bit better in the bass and a little more even handed. I slightly prefer HPDs but could happily live with either.
    cooky1257 likes this.
  5. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    I don't believe the rectangular GRFs are in the same league as the corner ones.
    canonman likes this.
  6. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    Yes there are plenty of Tannoy myths I don't subscribe too such as the HPD is inferior to the Gold, the K series are inferior to etc etc.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think it is context rather than myth, e.g. you use very high power solid state amps so I’d expect you to favour the Tannoys that you do. Swap out for a ten Watt Leak or 15W Quad II and get a different result. If you want to use an 8 Watt SET then Silvers make much more sense. Tannoy models definitely reflected the technology of their day. The company reacted to shifting trends.
  8. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    I think you misunderstood the direction of my post, my 'Tannoy' amps are Quad 240s, They get paired with Golds, HPD and K series with great results, I've heard them all on the end of Leak and Radford valve amps too with great results, the preferred amplification for Silvers and Reds I'd agree should be of their time ie valves, the converse isn't true, the more modern pepperpots are happy with both. Popular myths I was referring to include 'you must update/upgrade the crossovers, bypass the switches, they need huge 300L enclosures, they don't work in small rooms, HPDs have heavy cones etc etc I could go on.
  9. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Yes that's my experience over a number of solid state and valve amps.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Fair enough. Quad of any era just seems to work, I liked the 306 here, but I really didn’t enjoy my otherwise lovely Pass Aleph 3, or for that matter ‘chrome bumper’ Naim kit with my Monitor Golds. Just too small, lean and over-damped compared with the 303, vintage Leaks, Prima Luna or Radford I’ve had in over the years. I really liked the Aleph 3 elsewhere in the house in other systems, it was a stunning amp (it’s with a new owner now), but the humble 303 slaughtered it into the Lockwoods! I’m sure it is just a damping thing. It just sounded small and gutless whereas it could produce a huge open soundstage with the JR149s. Synergy is everything IMO.

    I agree with you completely regarding crossovers. I went down that rabbit hole, spent a fair bit of money, and actually fell out with one of the expensive boutique sellers as I hated the results of their “expertise” and asked for a refund (I won’t name them here)! My crossovers are entirely stock and staying that way, the crossover cases have never even been opened. I guess the electrolytic on the bass roll-off may be a little off by now, but the rest are likely film. They seem to be in most Golds. They certainly sound better than any alternatives I’ve tried and sound the same left to right. I did spend a lot of time cleaning the level and roll-off switches.

    I did also try bypassing the switches on a previous pair and did so one level setting below ‘level’ which equates to roughly ‘level’ with switches in. I didn’t feel it was a disaster, but neither did it bring anything. It was a step in my learning curve towards leaving them entirely stock. To be honest this has been my main takeaway from actively fiddling around with vintage kit for the past 20 years or so. The tldr of all my threads is restore to as close to factory as possible and ignore internet “experts” expensive boutique sellers etc. I wasted so much money on the TD-124 restoration getting sucked down various boutique rabbit holes. No regrets as it is a learning curve and my (mis)adventures generate good traffic so do help pay for things. There really is a lot of questionable advice, groupthink and profiteering out there IMHO.
    cooky1257 likes this.
  11. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    Your Gold Lockwoods did sound great with the 303, having used one with great results on HPDs myself it's probably time the 303 became the default amp recommendation for Golds/HPDs.
    Tony L likes this.
  12. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Any reason that would be different for the K series Cooky? Very happy with the Sugden I’m using at the moment but I like the idea of a 303.
  13. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    None that I can think of Sean. Got to be worth a go.
    Seanm likes this.
  14. VintageTannoy

    VintageTannoy Member

    Is the folded horn design desirable over the rectangular ported design? There's not much online about the GRFs and their sound. I'm thinking if I get the GRFs, I probably won't go down the path of DIY cabs for the 12" drivers I have.

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